Gulf of Aden Security Review
A regularly updated review of both Yemen and the Horn of Africa covering topics related to security, governance, and militant activity.
Yemen: AQAP militants attack al Houthi-Saleh forces in Ibb and al Bayda governorates; AQAP continues to undermine security in southern Yemen; al Houthi-Saleh forces shell Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia; President Hadi reiterates rejection of UN peace proposal; al Houthi-Saleh alliance announces new government will form in the coming days
Horn of Africa: SNA and AMISOM forces seize two villages from al Shabaab militants in Hiraan region; clashes continue between Puntland and Galmudug security forces despite ceasefire talks in Galkayo, Mudug region; al Shabaab conducts grenade attacks in Mogadishu and Elasha Biyaha, Lower Shabelle region; Jubbaland and Southwest State begin Lower House elections
Yemen Security Brief
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)-affiliated Ansar al Sharia forces claimed several attacks against al Houthi-Saleh forces in al Bayda and Ibb governorates on November 7. Ansar al Sharia forces killed al Houthi-Saleh field commanders in eastern Ibb and western al Bayda governorate. Ansar al Sharia forces also claimed to repel an al Houthi-Saleh attack on the Qifa area, Rada’a district, western al Bayda. An AQAP-affiliated Telegram account stated that the recent period of attacks focused on targeting al Houthi-Saleh field commanders.
- AQAP continues to undermine security in southern Yemen. Security forces, likely the Emirati-backed Hadrami Elite Forces, clashed with AQAP militants in western al Mukalla City, Hadramawt governorate on November 8, killing six AQAP militants. Saudi-led coalition warplanes supported the security forces. Security forces raided an AQAP stronghold in Shaddad area, Zinjibar city, Abyan governorate on November 8. AQAP militants claimed improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks targeting al Hizam security forces in the al Akad area, Lawder district, Abyan governorate on November 7 and 8. Likely AQAP militants launched multiple unclaimed attacks targeting government officials in southern Yemen between November 5 and 7. Militants wounded Director General of al Razi hospital with small arms fire in Ja’ar area, Abyan governorate on November 7. Militants also wounded Director General of Rural electricity with small arms fire in Ataq city, Shabwah governorate on November 5.
- Al Houthi-Saleh forces shelled al Tuwal Village, Jazan region, southern Saudi Arabia on November 7 and 8. A Saudi Civil Defense spokesman announced that five civilians were injured by al Houthi-Saleh artillery fire in al Tuwal on November 8. Al Houthi-Saleh media released images of artillery fire allegedly striking Saudi military positions and weapons stores in al Tuwal on November 7. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also claimed to kill a Saudi border guard in Jazan with small arms fire on November 8. Al Houthi-Saleh forces also shelled ‘Alb city in southern Asir region, Saudi Arabia on November 6.
- President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi reiterated his rejection of the UN’s October peace proposal in a November 7 conference with members of Yemen’s House of Representative and Shura Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul Malik al Mikhlafi urged the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to propose a new roadmap for Yemen’s peace process on November 8. Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s October proposal would have delegated President Hadi’s powers to a new consensus vice president. The plan would have required al Houthi-Saleh forces to transfer heavy weapons to a third party and withdraw from seized territory in Sana’a, Taiz, and al Hudaydah governorates. Numerous members of President Hadi’s government stated that the proposed plan is insufficient to ensure a lasting peace in Yemen.
- Al Houthi-Saleh Prime Minister Abdul Aziz Saleh bin Habtour announced on November 8 that he will form a national salvation government in the coming days. Prime Minister Habtour stated that he delayed forming a government in order to select ministers capable of addressing Yemen’s most pressing issues.
Horn of Africa Security Brief
- Somali National Army (SNA) and Djiboutian African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces seized Berhani and Berdere villages in Hiraan region on November 7. Al Shabaab fighters fled the villages as security forces arrived. Al Shabaab seized a number of strategically important villages in Hiraan and Bakool regions following the withdrawal of Ethiopian AMISOM forces in October.
- UN Special Envoy to Somalia Michael Keating assisted Puntland and Galmudug officials in formulating a new ceasefire on November 7. The agreement did not prevent security forces from clashing in Galkayo in Mudug region on November 8. The leaders of Puntland and Galmudug also signed a ceasefire in Abu Dhabi on November 1. That ceasefire failed when an artillery exchange between the two forces killed 20 individuals and wounded 80 others on November 6.
- Suspected al Shabaab militants conducted a grenade attack targeting SNA forces in Bakara Market in Mogadishu on November 7. No casualties were reported. Suspected al Shabaab militants attempted to assassinate the administrator of Elasha Biyaha area with a grenade on November 8, wounding one guard.
- Jubbaland State and Southwest State began Lower House elections on November 8. The six Somali regional administrations are expected to complete Lower House elections in time for a November 30 presidential contest. UN Special Envoy to Somalia Michael Keating recently described the 2016 election process as “infinitely more robust than” the 2012 elections.